League of Legends is a game of information. A large part of the Summoner’s Rift map is covered in the fog of war that conceals everything taking place in the surrounding area. And once an enemy champion wanders into the fog of war, you lose track of where he’s going and what he’s up to.
This makes vision control a core part of the League of Legends gameplay. All professional teams actively engage in information warfare, and if you’re live betting on LoL matches, you can often predict a winner by how well he’s playing the vision game. With that, it’s good to be aware of the many ways how teams can light up the map to secure an edge over their opponents.
League of Legends Trinkets
When a LoL esports match starts, every player can get a trinket. Trinkets are free items that occupy a separate inventory slot and provide vision to your allies or deny it from your opponents. At the beginning of the game, every player can choose between two trinkets: the Warding Totem and the Oracle Lens.
The Warding Totem is used to summon stealth wards—invisible tokens which you can place on top of terrain to grant vision of the surrounding area. Keep in mind, though, that there’s a brief moment right after you place a ward when it doesn’t have invisibility, so the enemy team can attempt to destroy it. The Warding Totem can store up to two stealth wards that recharge over time. This is the go-to trinket for most players as it lets them stay safe in their lanes while getting some much-needed information on the enemy jungler.
Meanwhile, the Oracle Lens performs the opposite function. Once you activate it, it reveals and disables wards and traps in a small area around your champion. This effect doesn’t last long, though, so most players use the Oracle Lens only when they absolutely need to remove enemy vision in a specific part of the map. Another benefit of activating the Oracle Lens is that it reveals the outlines of hidden enemies, so even if you don’t have direct vision of your opponents, you can still spot an ambush so long as your trinket is active.
Once you hit level 9, you can get a third trinket – the Farsight Alteration. While the Warding Totem requires you to be close to the spot you want to ward, the Farsight Alteration provides vision from a much longer distance. The catch is that Farsight wards are visible and have a single hit point, making them very easy to destroy. In general, players use the Farsight Alteration to gain vision in an area that’s either too far away or too dangerous to approach.
Every trinket is interchangeable, so you can always swap your Warding Totem for the Oracle Lens or—if you’ve reached level 9—the Farsight Alteration. A single champion can only have one trinket and a maximum of three active wards at the same time, so the entire team has to work together by getting a mix of different trinkets. On top of that, trinkets have long cooldowns, so understanding when and where to use them is the key to winning the information war.
Support Items and Control Wards
Another method of securing vision in League of Legends is purchasing support items. These items—namely, Ancient Coin, Relic Shiels, and Spellthief’s Edge—have unique quests that unlock three additional ward charges once you complete them. Support item wards act the same way as the wards from the Warding Totem, although they last a bit longer. Also, support items don’t restore their charges automatically, so you have to go back to your fountain to replenish them.
As the name indicates, these items are usually bought by supports. The main reason behind this is that quests are harder to complete for junglers and solo laners. On top of that, support items don’t have the best combat stats, so most players tend to invest their resourceful into more practical purchases.
Additionally, every player can purchase control wards. Control wards work the same way as stealth wards, but they also reveal and disable enemy wards and traps in the surrounding area. Destroying a control ward takes four auto attacks as opposed to three in case of regular wards. And if you don’t finish the job, the ward will slowly regenerate its hit points.
The downside is that control wards are always visible, so anyone can take them down without needing to activate the Oracle Lens. As a rule of thumb, control wards are placed to deny enemy vision around important objectives or cover easily defendable areas. And even though each player can purchase up to three control wards, you can only have one control ward active on the map.
Brushes and Special Abilities
In LoL, even something as simple as shrubbery serves a strategic purpose. For one, any champion that steps into a brush becomes invisible to his opponents. So, if you’re standing in a brush, your enemies won’t notice you unless they also walk into it. Alternatively, they can place a ward, activate a trinket, or cast an ability to gain vision of the surrounding area. Of course, attacking someone from a brush will automatically reveal you.
Brushes can be used to break the line of sight, escape your enemies, or set up ambushes. That’s why it’s almost always better to place wards into brushes to avoid getting blindsided by your opponents. Also, putting a control ward in a brush will conceal it, so even though the ward is visible, enemy champions will have to actually step into the brush to notice it.
Finally, some champions have special abilities that provide vision to allies or take it away from enemies. For example, Ashe can fire her Hawkshot to light up a remote area while Nocturne can use his ultimate spell—Paranoia—to put the enemy team in the dark for several seconds. Most abilities don’t have longstanding effects, but every little bit counts when you’re trying to win the information warfare.
So, let’s recap! League of Legends vision evolves around warding and clearing enemy wards. This is done through trinkets, support items, control wards, and special abilities. Once you secure vision control in key areas, you will have a good idea of where your enemies are and what they’re up to. And if you see a pro team lighting up the entire map with wards while its enemies are playing largely in the dark, it’s safe to say that team is winning.